August 2006 News

Indias coldness could court insurgency in Kashmir: ISSI

21 August 2006
The Daily Times
Zahid Hameed

Islamabad: Participants at a seminar on Monday called for revival of the dialogue process between India and Pakistan for resolution of all disputes including the core issue of Kashmir, pressing India to do more in this regard. The Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI), organised the seminar titled The Hiatus in Pakistan-India Dialogue. Retired Pakistani ambassadors and representatives of foreign missions in Pakistan attended the seminar. India had postponed the peace talks with Pakistan indefinitely, after accusing Pakistan-based groups of being involved in the Mumbai blasts, they said. ISSI Director General Shireen Mizari said the halt in talks between India and Pakistan had not made any difference for Pakistan. The peace process, which started in 2004, did not bring about any positive improvement towards the resolution of problems like Siachen, Sir Creek and most importantly the Kashmir dispute. Apart from some opportunities to increase cultural exchanges and people-to- people contacts, nothing substantial came out of the dialogue process, she said. She said that Pakistan had proposed self- governance, demilitarisation of Kashmir region, joint control and a regional plebiscite for the resolution of the Kashmir issue, but India did not reciprocate. She dubbed US President George Bushs visit to India and the US-India nuclear deal a negative factor in Pakistan-India relations. Now it (India) has again started accusing Pakistan of abetting terrorism and operating terrorist training camps, she said. She criticised the government for backtracking on the Kashmir dispute and said the dispute should be resolved through UN resolutions, which recognised the right of Kashmiris to self- determination. She said Pakistan should not undermine its position on Kashmir by not demanding that the issue should be resolved through UN resolutions. She said Pakistan was sending wrong signals by showing urgency for peace talks, and asked the government to shed its defensive policy adopted after 9-11 attacks in US. She said the talks to resolve the Kashmir problem were in Indias interest, otherwise it would have to face an uprising in the disputed region (held Kashmir). It is in Indias own interest to understand the importance of conflict resolution rather than conflict management. Pakistan has gone an extra mile and if India did not show flexibility, people of Kashmir would look for other options, she said. Inamul Haq, a former foreign secretary, said an act of terror in India, which Pakistan had condemned, led to the cessation of talks between the two countries despite the fact that the two had asserted that the peace process was irreversible. In September 2005, President Gen Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that the dialogue process was irreversible, and no act of terror would cause the suspension of talks. However, the process is suspended following the Mumbai train blasts, he said. He said the Indian government was provoked by its media and military to take action against Pakistan militarily, or suspend diplomatic relations or halt the dialogue process following the blasts. He said though India was showing coldness to resolve the disputes, Pakistan should continue to persuade India to keep the ball rolling. The disputes should be resolved on the basis principles, not on power leverage, he said, adding neither India nor Pakistan would accept an imposed solution of the Kashmir issue.


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